- The headaches of in-house catering
- The benefits of outsourcing
- Questions to ask a food service provider
The truth of 21st century foodservice is that employees are conscious eaters and food at work has a tremendous power to boost their satisfaction. The quality of your food offer, variety and choices of menus and attention to personal eating requirements are all factors which will be more and more crucial for companies to attract and retain the best talent.
We have written about the rationale for outsourcing catering before (link here to “The rationale for outsourcing catering”). In this article we will expand on all this and focus on the pains and headaches of in-house catering versus the bonuses of outsourcing.
The headaches of in-house catering.
If food service is not your core business and you still decide to run it in-house, you will incur a number of headaches. Here are some of the most common ones.
Lack of expertise
However good your in-house catering is, your organisation will lack the expertise of a specialist; this can translate into limited menus, higher expenses and labour-intensive processes.
When catering is done in-house, it is part of your organisation. This can require senior management to implement structures and other operations – time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Expansion of liability portfolio
You can expect an increased salary bill as well as wider employee costs such as pensions, taxes and welfare responsibilities. It also opens up a whole new area of responsibility regarding regulations and compliance.
Central Support is limited
Assigning someone within your organisation to source all training and operational needs, requires effort and expense, making your catering service relatively expensive.
High staff turnover
With a small in-house team, opportunities to progress are going to be a rarity, and you will find staff begin to look outside of your organisation for a route of progression. This may well result in a continual recruitment issue.
The bonuses of outsourcing.
On the other hand, here are a few of the main advantages to your business, when you decide to outsource food service to a specialist.
Maximise your revenue
Outsourcing brings financial certainty: not only are you tapping into the economies of scale available to a specialist supplier’s network by choosing to outsource, you’re also putting all the costs of your catering operation under the microscope.
Specialist Centralised Support
When you outsource, the catering operation you ‘see’ within your organisation is backed up by a multitude of centralised support functions held in the caterer’s HQ. From procurement processes through to customised staff training, your restaurant will have access to the most professional and effective back-up systems.
Hand over legal responsibility
Handing over legal responsibilities takes a lot of pressure away from you. With a specialist that deals with all the legal aspects, you can feel safe and concentrate on your core business.
Hand over administrative responsibilities
Your chosen supplier will use its centralised suite of support functions to take over the administrative responsibilities that come with workplace catering. Health and safety legislation, allergen information, and all responsibility for food labelling, in particular, will fall to the supplier. This will reduce your risk exposure and free up administration resources.
Bring brands to your organisation
If you choose a global catering supplier, you’ll have access to the major brands they have partnership arrangements with. This can be a real advantage to your employees.
What questions should you ask a global catering supplier?
Awareness of the benefits of outsourcing food service to a global specialist is only one step of the process. Once you have made the decision to outsource, what questions should you ask a global foodservice specialist to make sure you will find the right partner? Here are some crucial points to consider and relevant questions to ask.
Look for a supplier that includes health and safety as an integral part of the discussion.
Key question: “How would you ensure the safety and welfare of my people? “
You need a foodservice partner that understands your organisation inside-out so it will fit seamlessly into it.
Key question: “How would you know what my organisation wants and needs from a catering supplier and how do you ensure your knowledge is up-to-date”?
You want quality of service which reflects your own high standards of performance.
Key question: “What standard of services can we expect you to provide in our restaurants and what steps do you take to make sure these standards are met consistently?”
You want the people running your workplace restaurant to provide an experience that will allow your employees to relax while enjoying a good meal and you want someone that fully identifies with your objectives.
Key questions: “How do you find attract and retain the right people to work in my restaurant?” “How do you absorbe the people who currently work in our restaurants inside your organisation?”
You want the best deal for your foodservice provision without having to sacrifice anything in terms of quality or service.
Key question: “How will you make sure you offer my business the best possible value throughout the length of our contract?”
You want to know that the high foodservice standards put in place at the beginning of your contract will be maintained, if not exceeded, throughout its life span.
Key question: “What business excellence systems do you have in place to make sure that we will receive a consistently great experience from you, day in and day out?”
You want a global food service supplier with a local focus who can give your employees exactly what they want, no matter where they are.
Key question: “How do you make sure each of our workplace restaurants will have a local feel that our people can identify with?”
These are just a few of the many issues which make outsourcing food service preferable to managing it in-house, especially on a global level.
You can find more information about this downloading our outsourcing whitepaper below or talking to Jeroen Kurvers on +31 655 860 513